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Mars bars and Haggis – Enjoying the Scottish Meal

Filed under Edinburgh, Family Travel, Scotland
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On our second night in Scotland, I did something absolutely inexcusable: I went out without my camera. As luck would have it, that was also the night that we had our big pub dinner. I know, I know. This is a horrible offense, especially when at least one member of your party plans to eat haggis (and you plan to try to convince your toddler to do likewise). An experience like that should involve photo and video.

Cider. Photo by Simon Jarvis.

We went to the restaurant Whiski, which was definitely more of a bar atmosphere than we had expected. A note on eating in Scotland: it is quite possible to find restaurants that allow children, but if you want a pub experience you are seriously limited. Children are not allowed in actual bars in Scotland (I haven’t figured out what the zoning/classification system is like) so you may need to go with a more restaurant-style business, complete with tchotchkes on the wall and a kids’ menu. Whiski was pleasantly bar-like, even though we went in the late afternoon to keep the babies out of the full-blown Edinburgh party scene.

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St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

Filed under Edinburgh, Scotland
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We arrived in Edinburgh around two in the afternoon, which after unpacking is enough time to book it up the hill to Edinburgh Castle and squeeze in a quickie visit. The problem is that Edinburgh Castle deserves more than just a quick time-filler visit before dinner, so instead we decided to meander up the Royal Mile to see what we could see. Luckily, St. Giles Cathedral was open and the late-afternoon sunshine was just right.

Battle flags at St. Giles Cathedral. Photo by deannanmc

It’s free to enter (there is a suggested donation fee of 3GBP), but there’s a 2GBP fee for a photography license which I happily paid. St. Giles is the patron saint of Edinburgh, but the building contains numerous other monuments to the city and its famous citizens: Robert Louis Stevenson; James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose; the Order of the Thistle, Scotland’s highest chivalry order; and James Young Simpson. Who is James Young Simpson? He was a very important fellow indeed:

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Who’s your Travel Companion of Choice?

Filed under Adventure, Body and Mind, Edinburgh, general, Scotland
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We’re back from Edinburgh, and I have many thoughts about that wonderful city ranging from my opinion of fried Mars bars (delicious!) to the health benefits of pushing a double stroller up Calton Hill (not for the faint of heart or scant of muscle). But before I start on that, I need to say a few words about choosing a traveling buddy. Solo travel has its place; it can be good for the soul to fly alone. But whether it’s with a friend or family member I prefer to have a buddy, and my favorite buddy is my husband.

Photo by deannanmc

Yes, he wears small children on his person up and down the steepest hills of Europe and Japan and doesn’t care that he looks like something out of the traveling Fraggle circus. It’s enormously convenient, particularly on busy streets. But while he’s hauling kids and their cargo all around, he’s also working to instill a love of travel in his children and piquing their intellectual curiosity. Good fathers travel with their kids, be it abroad or in the backyard.

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Celebrate Hogmanay the Scottish Way

Filed under Edinburgh, Join the Party, Scotland
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Celebrating the New Year is famous no matter where in the World you happen to be at that magical hour, but of all the places I’ve found myself in on New Year’s Eve, the place that impressed me the most was Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.

There’s nothing to compare to the traditions of a Scottish ‘Hogmanay’ (New Year). It focuses on the gathering of families to each others’ home, the sharing of traditional Scottish fare, including shortbread and a dram or two of whiskey, and the playing of music and singing and dancing well into the night. So if you’re a visitor to this fine city and are looking for a family of your own to bring in the bells with, then you’ll find some unique kin of your very own – with around 100,000 adoptive family members as it happens – crowded into one of Edinburgh‘s most famous locations, Princes Street. This is the scene for one of the World’s biggest street parties, with out-sized television screens, live street DJ’s and open-air bars and non-stop celebrating as we say ‘out with the old, and in with the new’.

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